Skin: Poems by Ali Znaidi

Original image courtesy Bigstock.com

Original image courtesy Bigstock.com


Not a place of reality exactly
but one we like to cherish
and, you could say, we value:
this smooth or harsh contour
that imprisons our existence is but
a surface. Our kernels are more fragrant
than the shells of coconuts.
The time to feel its simulacrum best
is when it burns. Though
it is going to stink, right there
your brain is as fragrant as the inside
of a coconut.
We are human again
when we kiss our skins goodbye.


A Dilemma

Perhaps it’s a matter of fate.

Perhaps it was sealed:
“their words are the moon.”
“ours are starlets bathing around it.”

Perhaps it’s a matter of fate

Perhaps it was sealed
“our words are the moon.”
“theirs are starlets bathing around it.”

Perhaps it’s a matter of pronouns.
Perhaps it’s a matter of pragmatics.
Perhaps it’s a matter of deixis.


a post-modern Sufi dance

because the wall is full of cracks
because the street is full of pitfalls
because the bus stop is full of figures
because the poem is full of figures of speech
because his tongue is all speech, even in silence
because he doesn’t pretend to have exclusive truth rights
the dervish decided to dance in the desert
where there are glimpses of revelations
he wants to dance to all colours, to all genders, to all a-genders
to all agendas, to all abled & disabled communities
he wants to know about his perceptions
why he scatters them across, thru, & beyond the sand grains
he just wants to be a witness to things as they occur
he wants to praise the desert & its expansiveness
he wants the dead snakes to speak to him
—a panacea for preconceived childhood ideas
—a therapeutic dose for childhood traumas
—a praise dance to an area different from its surroundings
just think of the desert
the smell of thistle & all forms of cacti


An Unfinished African Monologue

I’m a huge body w/ out contours.
I’m a myth distilled from the waves & the wind.
I’ve got memories wider than my limbs.
I’ve got sorrows carved in the marble.
My merriment is encapsulated in the ululations.
I’ve got a past gnawed at by the wolves.
I’ve got perforated boats & rusty vehicles.
I’ve got treasures for my lovers & haters alike.
I hide my sorrows in a tattered shawl of a poor female farmer.
I paint my mirth in the smile
of a bare-footed child riding a home-made bicycle…


Poems (c) Ali Znaidi

Original image courtesy Bigstock.com

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